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Ten Minutes with: Markus Wierzoch

Dreaming of your kids becoming great industrial designers? Add the German silver screen masterpiece Car-napping to their must watch list. That is what set design director Markus Wierzoch on his career path.  

What are the 5 words that people would use to describe you?

I did ask half a dozen friends, colleagues, and family and four words that I heard often were “precise,” “happy,” “persistent” and “neat.”

The one word, that (nearly) everyone mentioned, was “German.” My brother however – the only German in my little survey – used the term “Amerikaner” instead, so I believe that this description is relying heavily on each participant’s perspective.

When did you know that you wanted to be an industrial designer? 

When I was about eleven or twelve years old, I used to draw a lot; mostly cars. One day I happened to watch on TV the (probably really terrible) German movie Car-napping. It followed the exposure of an organized theft of luxury cars. A car designer appeared on the margins of the story and I knew that was what I wanted to do one day. Over the years, I found designing cars a bit too one-dimensional, but here I am, some thirty years later, still sketching the occasional car for my two-year old, who is very much into cement mixers. He appreciates my skills.

What is in your notebook?

My Evernote notebook holds around 500 individual notes. Apart from notes around project work, there are sketches for a few personal projects, some home improvement projects, cooking recipes, design tools, and many more.

What is the thing (product, service, etc.) that you would die to design? Why?

I’d love to design a modern residential house, that is neither “cookie cutter”, nor “over the top”, which I am seeing a lot of. I want to create a house that is efficient in its layout and usage, honest in its use of materials, and integrating new technology without putting it front and center.

What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?

Have no fear, whatsoever, to explore – it is all going to be alright in the end.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I want to head Artefact’s office in Hanalei.

What would people never guess about you?

While I am very methodical at work, when I go on vacation, I prepare pretty much nothing. For a four-week stay in China in 2006 for example, I had nothing booked, but my return flight and the first three nights in a hotel in Shanghai, and it was a terrific trip!

What is your favorite Artefact project and why?

I love Dialog, because it shows the power of using hardware, software, and services together to help people in need. And it looks great doing that.

What are you afraid of?

I fear that mankind will be destroying our planet for our children.

Where do you go/what do you do for inspiration?

I believe that being inspired isn’t all too difficult these days as inspiration is omnipresent on the web, in magazines, books and in the cities around us. What I find more challenging is “connecting the dots,” and that I do best on long walks or hikes. I have, in fact, designed entire products on these excursions.